Building a short-scale piccolo bass.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by RainH2O, Feb 26, 2014.


  1. RainH2O

    RainH2O

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Some pics to catch up my progress.

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  2. Splods

    Splods

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Location:
    Adelaide, SA
    Seems interesting. I wonder what it will sound like when finished
  3. RainH2O

    RainH2O

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Headplate glued.

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  4. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

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    The concept and build are fascinating. While I've heard of a piccolo bass, I've never seen or handled one. How many strings are planned, and what would be the tuning?
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  6. RainH2O

    RainH2O

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Going to be 4 string. EADG, but an octave higher than normal (this thing is really short - 22.875" scale). Trying for something similar to a Marleaux Consat Sopran.

    I like to build odd things that I can't buy. :D
  7. RainH2O

    RainH2O

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Headplate shaped.

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  8. RainH2O

    RainH2O

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Catching the thread up. Routed the neck pocket, routed the pickup cavity, carved the neck, drilled the holes for the pots, glued the neck, drilled the holes for the bridge screws, and inlaid the headstock. image.jpg

    Carved a lower case "r" out of mammoth ivory for the inlay.

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    Sanded through grits 80-100-120-150-180 and rubbed with naptha to identify any remaining scratches.

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    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  9. gmjhowe

    gmjhowe

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    Mar 19, 2013
    Location:
    East Midlands, United Kingdom
    Nice to some some other people using mammoth ivory. Build is looking great over all.
  10. CDuff

    CDuff

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2002
    Location:
    Europe
    Lovely body.
    Seems pretty cute overall. Like a bass puppy.
  11. RainH2O

    RainH2O

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    How do you cut yours? I tried the bandsaw, but it was too brittle (and threw sparks everywhere). I tried a jewelers saw, but it stripped the blade down to practically a bare wire. Too brittle for the rotary tool. I ended up milling away material with the narrow drum for my spindle sander.

    Thanks! I know this isn't terribly practical, but I thought it would be a fun build. Something a little different.
  12. bassingeorge

    bassingeorge

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    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    San diego, CA
    I would very much like to see it done. Subbed!
  13. gmjhowe

    gmjhowe

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2013
    Location:
    East Midlands, United Kingdom
    I used a bandsaw to cut it, but a pretty small one, the table top kind. I did test it on a floor standing bandsaw, I got the same result, very rough cut.
    The small bandsaw did ok though. I found the stuff was pretty easy to file and sand though, so I cut a little over size just to make sure.

    I did cut a second nut which I cut using a coping saw, that did ok too.

    So in general, use sanding and filing to get your shape, rough cut with a fine bandsaw blade or fine coping saw.

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  14. CDuff

    CDuff

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    Sep 14, 2002
    Location:
    Europe

    Yeah, definitely. I hope I didn't come across as patronising by calling it "cute". I genuinely think this is a really exciting project. Can't wait to see it finished.
  15. RainH2O

    RainH2O

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Not at all! Everybody loves puppies. And basses.
    coughiefiend likes this.
  16. RainH2O

    RainH2O

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Working on the finish. Trying something bordering on heresy - clear acrylic. I used transtint to get the color (mix of honey amber, vintage maple, and orange). Used three slightly different mixes for a very subtle color change toward the edges (not enough to even call a burst). The clear acrylic isn't normally something I would consider, but I used it recently on a set of maple revolver grips. It gave me an effortless "dipped in glass" look. Since the grips were small, it was easy to control for runs. I've had a couple on the back and so far they were easy to fix. I waited the 20 minutes "dry to handle" time, sanded them flush, then hit them with another coat. The next coat melted in smooth. I feel like I'm cheating. I usually use nitro (and will continue to do so), but I don't think I'm sacrificing much in the way of tone, considering this is a novelty project. Not exactly going to bring the thunder with a bass that's smaller than a guitar, but I do think it's going to be fun.

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    Going to hit it with one more coat after checking for new runs later tonight. Planning to assemble tomorrow. Still needs frets.
  17. RainH2O

    RainH2O

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    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Going to have to wet sand away some orange peel. This is the bass beside a 14.7" scale octave guitar.

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  18. Jonny5bass

    Jonny5bass

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    May 3, 2011
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    That is beautiful! The finish is awesome so far. That's a cool little spalted guitar too!
  19. RainH2O

    RainH2O

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Going to have to re-do the clearcoat. In the process of wet-sanding away the orange-peel texture, I pretty much removed the clearcoat. I'll be working on that in the afternoons next week.

    This morning I decided to assemble everything just to check for fit (and because I wanted to see what it's going to look like). Going to need to shave a little thickness from the back of the headstock for the tuners to fit a little better.

    One question. Since I'm stripping the last remnants of the clearcoat before re-coating, should I go darker with the finish? While I have it stripped down, I could re-dye it darker (that part of finishing is easy). The reason I'm asking is that I'd like to have more contrast between the fretboard and the body/headstock. Currently it all blends together.

    Here are a couple of pics with all the hardware. I put in on the wall with a few Les Pauls for size comparison.

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  20. CDuff

    CDuff

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2002
    Location:
    Europe
    It looks great!
    I like the idea of darkening the body for contrast, but I've also seen a lot of basses really pull off the pale look when the contrast comes from the hardware. I think the combination of pale woods with black hardware, knobs, pickups and black strings looks really good. On the other hand, the "blonde" telecaster with its maple board, alder body, white pickguard and chrome hardware is just too much.
    The good news for you, using full-size hardware on such a small body is that the hardware makes up a much higher percentage of the aesthetic than usual :D
    It'll look great either way, I think.
  21. SBassman

    SBassman Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2003
    Location:
    Northeast, US
    Disclosures:
    Dealer: PiccoBass Guitar-scale Basses
    Excellent. Beautiful work.

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